History majors at Central have access to a wide array of courses covering all aspects of world history, including United States, European, Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Latin American. The department offers a wide-ranging curriculum covering multiple time periods, and professors bring added insight into the classroom through their personal research specialties. Graduates are thoroughly prepared for professional life and advanced study in a variety of disciplines.

A history major at Central can be combined with other majors; some students choose to minor in history, which adds depth and context to their major. As one of the most relevant majors in the liberal arts, history provides a context for understanding ourselves, our field of study and our world. 

career fields include library science, law, museum studies, law enforcement, teaching, business and social work
  • Field trips to sites such as Shiloh and Vicksburg National Battlefields, Gettysburg and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Internships at British Imperial War Museum, Austrian Museum for Folk Life and Folk Art (Vienna) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • National Park Service, Murfreesboro National Military Park, Tenn.
  • Executive Director, Sarpy County Historical Museum, Neb.
  • Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Appalachian State University
  • Judge Advocate General (JAG) – U.S. Air Force
  • Historian, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Historic Preservationist, Mead & Hunt (architectural firm), Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Information Technology Specialist, University of Minnesota
  • Business Development Strategist, Brokers International, Ltd., Des Moines
  • Editor-in-Chief, The Pella Chronicle
  • Attorney at law
  • Federal, state and local law enforcement
  • Teachers


No matter what your interests, Central has a student group or organization for you. Student groups of interest for history majors include History Club and Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.

Katie Zellmer

Katie Zellmer

Senior Katie Zellmer restored a historical WWI flag for the State Historical Society in Des Moines.

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Graduate Placement

  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • Ball State University
  • Western Illinois University
  • Duke University Medical School
  • University of Iowa Law School
  • Creighton University Law School
  • Drake University Law School


  • Austrian Museum for Folk Life and Folk Art, Vienna
  • British Imperial War Museum, London
  • Victoria and Albert House, London
  • Living History Farms, Urbandale
  • Iowa State Historical Society
  • Pella Historical Village and Scholte House
  • American Gothic House, Eldon
  • National Czech and Slovak Museum, Cedar Rapids
  • Iowa Events Center
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville

Courses & Faculty

Central’s broad range of history courses covers all time periods from the classic to modern era, as well as diversity of the world’s regions. Students may take courses in Middle Eastern, Asian, African and Latin American history, plus courses in United States and European history.

The research interests of Central’s history faculty contribute to the breadth and depth of the department’s course offerings—military history, political history and popular culture (including a historical perspective on sports, movies and music).

History photo
Meet the faculty:
  • Mark Barloon, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Senior Lecturer of History, interest areas include U.S. history (colonization-1865), Civil War and military history
  • Chia Ning, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of History, interest areas include Chinese and East Asian history, with publications specializing in the Qing imperial administration to non-Chinese regions in Inner Asia (Manchuria, Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet), China's frontier history, women in China's frontier relationships, China's minority nationalities and Asian-American studies in relation to Asian studies
  • Lori Witt, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, interest areas include American popular culture, gender and history, American sport history and 20th-century America

Sample Schedule

First year
  • Early Western Civilization
  • Modern Western Civilization
  • U.S. History to 1877
  • U.S. History 1877 to present
  • Core courses and/or electives
Sophomore year
  • Latin American Civilization or
  • Early East Asian Civilization or
  • Modern East Asian Civilization or
  • Modern African Civilization
  • 200 and 300 level electives
Junior year
  • History seminar
  • Public history seminar
  • History electives
  • Core courses and/or electives
Senior year
  • Public history seminar
  • History electives
  • Core courses and/or electives

The Central Difference

Public History Emphasis

Prospective students sometimes wonder what careers are open to history majors. Central’s history major offers a Public History Emphasis which exposes students to museums, archives, academic and corporate libraries and other fields that utilize the work of historians.  An internship is strongly recommended in this program.

Study Abroad

All students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. History majors are particularly encouraged to study abroad because of the opportunities to visit historical sites that are otherwise only accessible through pictures in textbooks, and because of resume-building internship opportunities. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and New York City. 

Research Opportunities

Recently, Professor Mark Barloon, several students and alumnus Tom Gaard worked with the Pella Historical Museum and Scholte House doing research on Pella and Marion County in the Civil War, as part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the war.

Additionally, history classes include opportunities for students to experience the past firsthand. Central students have toured Civil War battlefields in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Mississippi, and  enjoyed behind-the-scenes access at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum and the National WWI Museum. Students have also toured, studied and worked at the State Historical Society of Iowa and Living History Farms.


History classes meet in historic Jordan Hall, which has been updated to meet the needs of today’s students. 

Central College History Students


Summer Research Crew

Summer Research Crew

Twenty-three students turned full-time researchers this summer. They investigated bats, bees, polymers, criminal sentencing and more — and received research grants to do it!

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Stories from Vietnam
Stories from Vietnam

When Kenneth Quinn landed in Vietnam, he was sure someone would try to kill him immediately. Quinn, a civilian officer in 1967, remembers, “I was so pleased when that didn’t happen.”

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A Field Trip to Peru
A Field Trip to Peru

Eight Central students completed their spring semester with a field trip to Peru this summer.

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Learn More

Want to find out more about history at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.